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  • 1.Why Can’t We Build a Biosphere? NATIONAL CENTER FOR CASE STUDY TEACHING IN SCIENCE by Kathy K. GallucciDepartment of BiologyElon University, Elon, NC
  • 2.In 1991, four men and four women entered Biosphere 2, a man-made closed ecological system (CES), in Oracle, Arizona. The purpose of this “human experiment” was to see if the eight biospherians could be sustained by this miniature version of Biosphere 1, for two years with no outside support of any kind. If the project was successful, Biosphere 2 might serve as a prototype for a human habitat on Mars, or a retreat for humans on Biosphere 1 during a crisis.   The experiment failed. Why did it fail? 2
  • 3.Part I - Biosphere 2 3
  • 4.Discussion Question 1What would you need to build a biosphere? How can the biosphere be constructed? What supporting services would you include? How would the services be controlled? What regulating services would you include? What provisioning ecosystem services are needed? How can these be sustained in a biosphere? What cultural ecosystem services would help enrich the lives of biospherians? 4
  • 5.On 3.14 acres, Biosphere 2 had: 3800 species five biomes an agricultural area a “technosphere” living quarters 5
  • 6.Discussion Question 2What kinds of organisms would you select for your biosphere? 6 Discussion Question 3What utilities would you need to include in the “technosphere”?
  • 7.a rainforest an ocean, with a coral reef a fog desert a mangrove swamp a savannah grassland an agricultural area a “technosphere” living quarters with a library 7
  • 8.Comparison of Biosphere 1 and 2 8 (Poynter TED Talk, 2009; Cohen & Tilman, 1996)
  • 9.Part II - Ecosystem Services 9
  • 10.Millennium Ecosystem Assessment United Nations 2005 (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment)
  • 11.Supporting Provisioning Regulating Cultural
  • 12.Discussion Question 4What ecosystem services of Biosphere 1 must be recreated in Biosphere 2? 12
  • 13.Supporting photosynthesis oxygen production nutrient cycling water cycling soil formation Provisioning food, water, protection, energy, medicine, genetic resources Regulating water filtration, carbon storage, flood, disease, and erosion control, hazard protection Cultural spiritual solace, recreation, education, heritage, tourism, aesthetics, inspiration
  • 14.Part III - The Ecological Footprint 14
  • 15.Ecological Footprint How many planets does it take to support your lifestyle? http://www.earthday.org/footprint-calculator 15
  • 16.16
  • 17.Number of Earths Required to Sustain Humanity 17 (Wackernagel, et al., 2002)
  • 18.Discussion Question 5How can the overreach of an individual’s ecological footprint inform us about the ecosystem services required by Biosphere 2? Why did Biosphere 2 fail? 18
  • 19.“The major retrospective conclusion that can be drawn is simple. At present, there is no demonstrated alternative to maintaining the viability of Earth. No one knows how to engineer systems that provide humans with the life-supporting services that natural ecosystems produce for free.” (Cohen, J.E. & D. Tilman, 1996) 19